Thursday, 27 October 2011

Website Design Updated

As I'm sure you're aware, the design of the BattleScribe website has looked kinda... scuzzy (circa 1995) for some time. I'm no designer, and just needed to get something up to host the downloads. Well I finally got sick enough of it that I went ahead and built something a lot nicer.

It's pretty much the same content (for now at least), but hopefully it's a lot easier on the eye and a bit more modern.

Enjoy :)

Thursday, 13 October 2011

BattleScribe Mobile Pro Released!

So today, the pro version of BattleScribe Mobile is out. This is an ad free version of the normal Android app, which also has a little something extra: a neat dice rolling and statistics app. It tells you the average results of a series of dice throws, and allows you to try rolling for yourself to see your own results. It will handle dice from a D2 up to a D100, multiple dice per roll (eg 3D6, 5D10), and you can also factor modifiers, multipliers and re-rolls into this.

As a thank you to all those who've downloaded the free version and have been with BattleScribe over the last 18 months or so of it's life, BattleScribe Mobile Pro will cost a single pound for the first week. After that, it will probably be around the three pound mark.

Let me know what you think in the comments, and the link to the Android Market is on the right, along with the rest of them. Enjoy :)

Monday, 10 October 2011

BattleScribe 1.12.03b Released, BattleScribe Mobile Pro Sneak Peek

BattleScribe 1.12.02b and 1.12.03b released in quick succession to sort out a couple of minor niggles. Sometimes the roster points total wouldn't update correctly when using the +/- spinners. Also, the points wouldn't update if you duplicated a selection. These should be sorted out now.

In other news, I'm almost ready to release the Pro version of BattleScribe Mobile for Android phones. This has the advertising removed, and also includes a little something extra: a statistics calculator/roller, geared towards wargamers. We're all stats-nerds at heart and it's nice to be able to compare the average damage output or other characteristics of a unit when making your lists. You can view the average results of a particular series of rolls (e.g. hit, wound, save), and have a go at rolling them yourself to see if you can beat the average.

Mathammer is fun :)

Friday, 7 October 2011

BattleScribe 1.12.01b Released!

This is mainly a bug fix release as a few bits and pieces were raised in the forum - my thanks to vaslav and scarletsquig for finding them. There are also a couple of small new features thrown in there.

Release Notes:
  • Your chosen roster layout options in the view roster dialog are now remembered
  • Catalogue and Game System editors will now prompt you to update the revision number of files you edit
  • Fixed a bug where data files made with 1.12.00b would not open on older versions or on the mobile version.
  • Fixed bugs where modified rules/profiles would not be properly renamed and listed in the view roster dialog
  • Fixed bug where selections from entries with modified points values would not be displayed properly in the view roster dialog
  • Fixed bug where if you selected an entry for your army with modified points values, the available entries list would reflect the modified version, not the original
  • Fixed bug where the hidden flag on rules/profiles was not being respected
  • Fixed a bug where "No Category" selections would sometimes not be displayed in Roster Editor
Additional Fixes for Android:
  • Ads no longer get in the way of your list of selections

Thursday, 29 September 2011

BattleScribe 1.12.00b Released!

And here's the latest version of BattleScribe, with a nice bunch of improvements including the most requested item on the UserVoice page. There are a couple of UI improvements and you also get a side-by-side layout when viewing/printing rosters. That's something people have been after for a while. It could do with further improvement, but it's a start.

For those of you who edit data files, I've added modifiers to profiles so you can change the values of characteristics based on the selections you make in your roster. All distinct profiles (each varient of a modified one, and the original if present) are shown in the summary and marked with what they are modified by. I also thought I'd do the same for rules whilst I was at it.

Without further ado, here's the full change list.

Release Notes:
  • Alternative layout in view/print roster, with the army's units and profiles/rules laid out side-by-side. Choose the view you want from the Layout Options menu.
  • The minimum points value of entries is now shown in the left-hand tree so you can see how much something costs before you select it.
  • Rules summaries are not displayed in view/print roster unless they have a description.
  • Profiles can now have modifiers, allowing you to change characteristic values based on your selections (eg. Mark of Nurgle gives you +1 Toughness).
  • Profiles will have their names changed based on what selections of modifiers, so for the above case "Chaos Lord (Mark of Nurgle)" would be listed in the profile summary.
  • Rules can also have modifiers to change their names/descriptions.
  • Added Spikey Bits as an affiliate
  • The new installer will not overwrite your settings file, so you will not loose your saved data repositories on upgrade.
  • BattleScribe will no-longer crash if the settings file is missing or broken - it will just create a new one.
  • The selected affiliate in the menu bar will now be randomly shown. If the button is clicked, or you select your preferred affiliate from the drop-down, this one will always be shown.
Android Specific:
  • Fixed a nasty bug that prevented BattleScribe from downloading game systems from repositories and showed an error message.
My apologies if you were affected by the bug in the Android version, I really should have spotted that one before I released it. My thanks to hewhowatches and scarletsquig in the forums for helping test this release. Always appreciated :)

Sunday, 25 September 2011

BattleScribe 1.12.00b Pre-Release, Stickers

As usual, I've posted a pre-release of the latest BattleScribe up in the forums. Feel free to download and give it a whirl, and please let me know if you find anything wonky in there. The full release notes are listed in the forum thread, and you can let me know there or in the comments if you uncover any problems.

Also, to follow up on the last post, stonhinge in the comments suggested giving away stickers as a thank-you for donations/purchases. I thought that was quite a nice idea, so if people are interested I could start posting some nice glossy vinyl stickers for donations (voluntary purchases?) of say $10 or more. What do you think? Here's a first thought for the sticker design:

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Thoughts on Income

Well, that's a provocative title. Link bait you might say...

Seriously though, BattleScribe and money has been something I've been thinking about lately. As I've always tried to be open about everything I try to do with BattleScribe, I thought I should air my thoughts and see what people think.

Just to be clear though, there will always be free, fully functional versions for desktop and mobile. Forever. That isn't going to change.

So what's this all about? It's a bit of a dream of mine to be able to one day quit the day job and focus all my time on BattleScribe. Combining my two favorite pastimes - toy soldiers and programming - into a job would be awesome. I could do a much better job of supporting and improving the program, and start implementing some of the other grand schemes I've been thinking about.

Currently, BattleScribe pays it's way with generous donations, the ads on the mobile version and the affiliate links in the desktop version. I can run the project at no real cost to myself for web hosting etc, which is great.

Of course, for me to be able to focus on BattleScribe entirely, it has to go a little further than just supporting itself. So I've been thinking of ways to generate some income from BattleScribe that keep it free and provide some benefit for the user.

I've come up with a few ideas, and I'd love to hear your thoughts.

  1. Turning the affiliate links on the desktop version into a much more useful feature. The idea would be that once you've created an army list, you could click the link to go to your preferred web store. When you get there you find your shopping basket already populated with everything you need to build your army. BattleScribe gets a small cut of any sales made through the links.
  2. A paid for version of the mobile app. Make it ad-free and also give it something extra as a thank you for purchasing, such as alternative skins. The free one would still have all the same features.
  3. Direct advertising on the mobile and (possibly) desktop versions, and on the website. Companies could pay for ad space, which means they'd be much more relevant and useful to wargamers. This kind of advertising is also more lucrative, especially for a niche product like BattleScribe.
  4. A "pay what you want" model to "purchase" the desktop version (where "what you want" can be nothing - there would be a prominent "skip payment" button). I'm a little uneasy about this as it feels like I'd be guilt-tripping people into parting with their cash...
  5. Merchandise. T-shirts, stickers, mugs or whatever fun stuff people would like to buy. Not sure there would be much demand for a BattleScribe t-shirt though!

I hope you get where I'm trying to go with this. The idea is to find useful, optional or unobtrusive ways to generate a little income, without making it a paid for product or reducing it's functionality.

So, what do you think? Do you have any suggestions? Let me know on the forum or the comments. Thanks!

Saturday, 3 September 2011

BattleScribe 1.11.03b Released!

Just a quick bugfix release today - I've resolved an issue where the total roster points value wasn't being recalculated sometimes (not good). In addition, for the Android version, I've fixed a bug where rosters containing certain text characters could not be displayed when viewing them.

Short and sweet :)

Saturday, 13 August 2011

BattleScribe 1.11.02b Released!

The latest version of BattleScribe is finally here for both the desktop and for Android. This version is mostly bug fixes, but there is also a nice new preview feature.

Change List
  • Added preview feature. Hovering your mouse over a selection or entry will pop up a tooltip containing the unit composition, rules and profiles, much like the view roster dialogue box.
  • BattleScribe will now check your data files to see if any are from a newer version than you currently have. If it finds any, it will display a warning and prompt you to upgrade.
  • Fixed a bug that would crash BattleScribe if you loaded a roster that contained selections from entries that have been removed from the catalogue file.
  • Fixed a bug that caused the settings file to become broken which would cause a crash when starting up BattleScribe.
  • Internal tweeks to the add/remove selection code, especially around how collective entries are handled.
Additional Changes for Android
  • Added ability to delete rosters from the load roster dialogue box.
  • Fixed a bug where some errors were not being displayed for entry groups.
  • Fixed a bug where no game systems/catalogues were displayed in the new roster dialogue box.
  • Fixed a bug where some data repositories could not be downloaded from.
Note: The preview feature is not yet available on the Android version as I haven't quite worked out where/how it is going to fit in. I'll include it in a future version.

Some Screenshots
Hovering your mouse over a selection displays the unit details
You are prompted to upgrade if you have data files from a version newer than the one you have currently installed

Monday, 8 August 2011

BattleScribe 1.11.02b Pre-Release

The latest version of BattleScribe is almost done and I've put a pre-release version up over on this forum thread. There's been some changes in the main "adding to your roster" parts of the code, so some bugs might have crept in. I've not seen any problems so far, but if you find anything please let me know on the forum thread.


Sunday, 7 August 2011

New Feature: Unit Detail Tooltips

Here's a couple of screenshots to preview a new feature in the upcoming version of BattleScribe. This will mostly be a bug-fix release, but I thought I'd also throw in something fun. By hovering over an entry you want to select, or over an existing selection, BattleScribe will popup a tooltip giving you details of the unit, it's stats and it's rules.

Hover over an entry to see a preview of what will be added to your roster.

Hover over an existing selection to see it's current composition.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

BattleScribe 1.11.01b Released!

A bug was discovered that prevented you from opening old rosters created with version 1.10.04b or before. This has now been resolved and it is recommended you upgrade as soon as possible. Unfortunately any rosters created with version 1.11.00b will no longer open in this fixed version since they would have been created with the bug still in place. Your old 1.10.04b rosters should all open fine now however.

My apologies, and many thanks to Hewhowatches on the forums for finding the bug.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

BattleScribe 1.11.00b Released!

The new version of BattleScribe is here (both for the desktop and mobile), and this one has a couple of really nice updates.

Firstly, it can now handle different "game types" that can have alternate category layouts and min/maxes. This means you can create rosters for variations of games, such as Planetstrike for Warhammer 40,000 where the force organisation chart is different from the standard.

A second major improvement is in the loading times of data files. This mainly helps in the mobile version, where loading times could be minutes for big files (!).

One more I'd like to mention is the addition of affiliate links to the toolbar. These are shortcuts to some of the more popular on-line stores, so you can go and make purchases for your army. Anything you buy via one of these links earns a small percentage of the sale for BattleScribe. Hopefully if this proves popular/useful, I can improve this so that the selections you make for your army will show up in the store's shopping basket/cart when you click through. This will take collaboration with the stores though, so it would have to prove worth it for them - i.e. enough sales via these links. The idea is to make this as useful for users as possible, and not just a cynical money-making exercise...

Anyway, enough of my babble, here's the full list of changes:
  • Support for different game types, e.g. Apocalypse or Planetstrike. This is added to the Game System file.
  • Performance improvements when reading data files. This should help especially for BattleScribe Mobile loading times.
  • Rosters will now update to reflect changes (e.g. points fixes) in catalogue/game system files when you open them.
  • Copy as BBCode option in View Roster dialog. It's the normal text output wrapped in a BBCode "code" tag, meaning it will keep it's indentation in forum posts.
  • Added affiliate links to several on-line stores so it's convenient to go and make purchases for your army. Purchases made through these links make a few bucks for BattleScribe.
  • BattleScribe will notify you if there is a new version available, and provide a link to download it.
  • Data indexer will ensure data files are in the latest file format, and that they are zipped before creating the index.
  • File size drastically reduced - I've gone back to using XML attributes wherever possible instead of elements, and removed indentation.
  • Fixed bug where min/max selections of root entries wasn't being ignored, meaning you sometimes couldn't remove root selections.
  • Fixed bug where error "You can have at most -x selections from y" was always shown for collective entries.
  • Various UI tweeks.

And a couple more, just for BattleScribe Mobile:
  • Added a "Save As" menu item, so you can save copies of the list.
  • Added a "first run" screen with some information on data files: where to get them and how to use them.
  • The screen will no-longer go to sleep when long-running tasks are happening, such as when it's loading files or updating the file format.
  • Improvements to some of the "loading" screens so they give a little more information and the animation always works.
  • Warning: BattleScribe Mobile can take quite a while updating your data files to the new format - especially if you have a lot of them. Be patient! Once it's done it won't have to do it again. An alternative would be to delete your data files and replace them with ones you've already upgraded.

Finally I'd like to thank Toreador13 and Mahlers from the forums for their invaluable help in testing this release. Cheers guys!

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

BattleScribe 1.11.00b Pre-Release

The latest version of BattleScribe is almost done. As usual there's a pre-release version over on this forum thread. If you're feeling brave, give it a go - there may be some bugs in there still... If you find any issues, please let me know and I'll get them sorted out for the final release.


Friday, 29 April 2011

BattleScribe 1.10.04b Released, New Data File Management

Today's release BattleScribe release has an important new feature. Data repositories. A data repository is a set of data files on the internet that BattleScribe can access. All you need is the URL of a repository, and BattleScribe will automatically download and import the data files from it. It will also check for newer versions of your existing data files and update them for you. Also included in this release is the Data Indexer tool, which makes it easy to create your own data repositories.

This release is important because the Data Project is no more. It is critical to BattleScribe's success that users have access to data files to get them up and running. The data repositories system should make it much easier for people to get hold of data files and keep them up to date.

If you're a fan of BattleScribe, it would be great if you could help spread the word about this release. Click one of the share buttons on the homepage! Post in your favourite forum! Tell your friends! And thank you for your support.

Full change list (since BattleScribe 1.10.00b)
  • Data repository support so BattleScribe can download data files and keep them up to date
  • Data Indexer tool added to allow you to easily create data repositories
  • Help updated with details on how to use repositories
  • Help page added on how to use the Data Indexer to create repositories
  • Improved the "Copy Text" output. It now produces indented text, similar to the HTML view
  • Added tooltips to the sort and duplicate buttons in Roster Editor
  • View/print roster now has a "created with BattleScribe" footer, with a link. Sharing the love :)
  • Improved data file import to prevent you ending up with two data files with the same ID
  • Moved the exit button back alongside the other toolbar buttons as it was being "pushed off the screen" on some Linux systems
  • Fixed background/text colours on for selected items in the dropdown lists and trees
  • Fixed bug where the error "you can have at most 0 selections of xxx in your roster" would always appear
  • Fixed bug where rules were being repeated in view/print roster
Finally, my thanks to scarletsquig, eldar and Toreador13 from the forums and to Natakue from for their help testing this release.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

BattleScribe 1.10.04b Pre-Release

I've posted a first pre-release of BattleScribe 1.10.04b in the forum for people to play with, along with release notes. This is an important release as it contains a new feature that lets BattleScribe download data files and keep them up to date for you. You just need to add the URL of a data repository's index file, and BattleScribe uses this to find the data files available in the repository. In Roster Editor, go to File -> Data Repositories.

Also included is a tool to create the required index file, to help you create data repositories of your own. You point the tool at a folder, and it finds all compatible data files and creates the appropriate index for them. You can then host this folder somewhere, and give out the URL of the index file. I've tested with DropBox public folders and it works a treat.

There's also a bunch of smaller bug fixes and UI updates since 1.10.00b.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Notice of Infringement

Today Games Workshop sent me a notice of infringement asking me to remove data files and links to them from the BattleScribe website and software. Basically the information included in the data files infringes on Games Workshop's (and other companies') copyrights. Although I knew this in the first place, I hoped that linking to these data files on another site would be OK. I have had to remove all data files and links to data files from the BattleScribe software and the website. Update: It's was confirmed today that the Data Project site must come down too.

Games Workshop are well within their rights to ask me to do so, and I have no intention of getting into legal trouble over what is essentially a hobby for me. This is not entirely unexpected, although it is unfortunate. To be fair they have been very reasonable about the whole thing and have answered any questions I've had.

To this end:
  • All posts announcing new data file releases have been removed
  • No more such announcements will be made here
  • All links to data files or sources of data files have been removed
  • Forum posts have had data files and links to data files removed
  • Forums relating to the "Data Project" have been removed
  • Issue tracker has been removed from the forum
  • You will be unable to post data files, links to data files or links to pages containing data files in the forum. Any such posts will be edited to remove infringing content

The Future
What does this mean for BattleScribe? Firstly it isn't going anywhere. The software itself is not at fault in any way and I will continue to maintain and improve it. Watch this space for new versions, news and announcements. I can also continue to provide support and advice on using BattleScribe and it's data file editors. I cannot however endorse, advertise or otherwise be involved with any projects to maintain a list of data files for BattleScribe. Any discussion or links to such projects can't be on this website or in the BattleScribe software.

If anyone has any questions etc, there's a post in the forum to discuss things.

Monday, 4 April 2011

BattleScribe Mobile 1.10.00b Released on Android!

The day is finally here, BattleScribe Mobile for Android has arrived! I'm pretty excited to finally get this out. It's my first Android app and it's taken quite a bit of time and effort to learn the ropes and get it finished.

The BattleScribe Mobile allows you to create and edit your army lists on the move. It is of course fully compatible with your existing data files and rosters, so you can just put them on your SD card and open them up. It has (almost) all the features you get in the desktop version of Roster Editor.
  • Create rosters using your existing data files, load your existing rosters
  • Navigate and edit your roster in a way that should be familiar to users of BattleScribe
  • Points total of your roster and individual selections is clearly shown
  • Show a list of problems with your roster and jump to the offending selections
  • View your roster in a nice readable format, with profile and rule summaries
  • Copy your roster as HTML or text for pasting into documents/blogs/websites/forums etc
  • Saves/loads your data from the SD card, making it easy to transfer your existing files over
  • Import function for data files
  • Requires Android 2.2 (Froyo), ad supported

A couple of small issues to watch out for:
  • It can take a while (up to 30 seconds even) to load data files when creating a roster - especially if they're big files. These files can get quite complex and it takes quite a bit of processing to load them. I'll be looking to see if I can improve these load times in future.
  • I have noticed that after you import a datafile, it sometimes does not show up in the dropdowns on the "New Roster" screen. If this happens, a restart of BattleScribe should make them appear. I'm working to fix this now. Update: This is now fixed in v1.10.01b
  • No Catalogue or Game System Editors. The idea of modifying data files on a phone did not sound fun, though if there is demand I will go ahead and add them.
It's the first release, so I'm sure something has slipped through the net. If you find any problems, or have a feature request, please post it on the UserVoice page remembering to include your phone make/model and your version of Android. I will be keeping a close eye on this over the next few weeks, so expect multiple small updates to resolve any issues people find. There's still a way to go!

Go to BattleScribe Mobile on the Android Market

Now, please excuse me as I take the rest of the night off and crack open a bottle of whisky to celebrate. I feel I deserve it ;)

Saturday, 2 April 2011

BattleScribe 1.10.02b Released

There's always something isn't there? A few annoying little bugs made it into v1.10b - nothing major, just a bit of a pain. So I've released an updated version with these fixed.

  • Fixed error when viewing some rosters with blank rule descriptions.
  • Viewing roster now shows blanks for empty characteristic values, not "null".
  • Import feature improved, now uses correct filename of compressed data files.
  • Correct list of categories now show up on the edit entry panel in Catalogue Editor.
  • Min/max in roster values on edit entry group panel are now handled correctly in Catalogue Editor.
  • Customise name button on edit selection panel in Roster Editor now correctly shows the dialog.
It's probably worth upgrading to this version if you're having any issues, especially if you intend to create or edit data files.

My thanks to Jono and Eldar in this thread for helping find the issues.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

BattleScribe 1.10b Released!

So here's BattleScribe 1.10b. Quite a few changes here, especially under the bonnet. This release contains a selection of front end updates and fixes, and lays the foundations for the upcoming Android version of BattleScribe.

What's in this release then?
  • Changed the XML Java libraries to Simple XML as discussed in this post. This is mainly to support the upcoming Android version of BattleScribe.
  • Improved performance on the New Roster dialogue when you have large numbers of data files.
  • Import Data Files function added so you can get data files into BattleScribe without rummaging through folders and copy/pasting (if you prefer).
  • Import function will accept zipped data files with extension "" or "" as well as the normal .cat and .gst files.
  • Categories with no entries are no longer shown in the "Available Entries" tree in Roster Editor. They also do not generate error messages.
  • Categories with no entries selected are no longer shown in the "Current Selections" tree in Roster Editor for a cleaner view.
  • Slight improvements to roster layout when you view/print it.
  • Improved error dialog.
  • Buttons in the View Roster dialogue moved to a toolbar, bringing it more in line with the main Roster Editor window.
  • Added "Copy Text" button to the View Roster dialog, allowing you to just copy a simple text version of the roster (without all the HTML gubbins).
  • Any formatting (tabs and new lines) in the description of a rule in Catalogue Editor are now preserved when viewing/printing the roster.
  • Fixed a nasty bug where you could end up overwriting a previously saved game system file in Game System Editor.
  • Fixed a bug where errors were incorrectly reported for some collective selections ("xxx can have at most -5pts from yyy...").
  • And most importantly, "Buy me A Beer" donation button added to the toolbar in Roster Editor - because beer fuels development!

Monday, 28 March 2011

Sneak Peak

I've spent quite a bit of time the last month or so on a certain "secret" BattleScribe project. The time is almost here for it to be released to the world, so here's a quick screenshot of what's to come. Enjoy...

Can you tell what it is yet?

Saturday, 26 March 2011

BattleScribe v1.10b Pre1 Released

The first pre-release of BattleScribe v1.10b is now available. Release notes and download link can be found in this forum post. There have been several changes to the way BattleScribe reads and writes your files, so use this at your own risk (although it will back up files before changing them).

If you are the adventurous type, feel free to download and have a play. If you notice anything strange, please let me know on the forum post and I'll get right on fixing it. I'll update the post with an amended pre-release. Once it's been out a day or so with no issues, it will be released properly on the BattleScribe site.

As always, your help is very much appreciated :)

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Development News

First up, a progress update on BattleScribe 1.10b. The changes in this release are mostly under the bonnet. I've changed the XML library I'm using to Simple XML, which means a change to the file format. As before, your data files and rosters will be automatically upgraded to the new format. This really has no visible effect in day-to-day usage, though it has been a big job to do.

So why bother? Firstly, I am able to re-organise some of the code, making it easier for me to maintain in future. Second, the new XML format is more "industry standard," making it easier to read. Finally, it paves the way for an upcoming project I have in the works. You'll have to wait and see what it is, but I think you'll like it...

There are also a couple of bug fixes and new features coming up. Take a look at the three tasks marked as "started" on the UserVoice page.

As before, I'll post a pre-release version up in the forum for the brave of heart to have a go with before the final release. This should help make sure there are no glaring problems.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Some News

Firstly, I've gone ahead and added a few Google text ads to the BattleScribe site, which will hopefully bring in a little cash to help pay for the web hosting. I'm not going to go crazy plastering them everywhere though - I'd rather go for the subtle approach than annoying everybody with flashing "click the monkey" ads. To that end, it'll just be some low-key, text-only adverts for the time-being.

Next, the Dark Heresy campaign I spoke about in the last post kicked off last week - and we recorded it. I've written up a little introduction to the campaign, and I'm in the process of chopping the recording into half-hour segments to be released as a podcast over the coming weeks.

With that out of the way, it's now time to get back on the BattleScribe case and get a new version properly on the go. Stay tuned...

Edit: I've also implemented a new question/answer style captcha when signing up to the forum. This should help prevent the spam issue we've been having lately. I've also disabled all of the accounts that had made zero posts. Thanks go to Zere for pointing out the number of inactive, spammy users! I should have listened to you sooner...